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The future of News Journalism in the Digital Environment

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Park and Dare Theatre Treorchy

Could copyright-based solutions be the key  for the future of print journalism in the digital environment?

The School has secured new AHRC funding in conjunction with the University of Cambridge to research the problems facing print journalism in the digital environment and the prospects for copyright-based solutions.

The project will be jointly headed by Professor Ian Hargreaves, Professor of Digital Economy at Cardiff and Professor Lionel Bently, Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge.

The project is funded under the AHRC scheme 'Copyright Satellites' and is entitled 'Appraising Potential Legal Responses to Threats to the Production of News in the Digital Environment'.

Not unlike music and other branches of publishing, news journalism has faced radical challenges over the last two decades, with talk of the "death of the newspaper" and questions raised about the very future of journalism.

With music, books and films, the greatest threat to existing business models have been seen as the unauthorised home copying and peer to peer distribution, with news journalism the challenge derives from the fact that advertising has not followed the shift of print-newspapers to the Internet.

But, if the central problem has not been copyright piracy, the big question is whether copyright-related business models are part of the solution.

Professor Hargreaves said, “This exciting research will appraise the potential legal responses to the threats facing news production in the digital environment, as such our project will address three dimensions.

“Firstly we will explore and map the range of business models being utilised such as advertising, freemium, metred, public funding and citizen journalism. Secondly we will consider the methods of assessing these changes not just on the economy but on the society and the impact of these shifts on the ‘quality’ of journalism and the level of access enjoyed by different sections of the public to news, analysis and debate.

“Finally we will consider what useful role policy-makers play in this field. If concerns over the quality of journalism are real, they go to the heart of a well-functioning democratic system.”

The research will run from January 2014 for 24 months and will produce articles and deliver workshops based upon findings during that time concluding with a conference in 2016.

The project carries with it a research opportunity for post-doctoral researcher in journalism, history of journalism/news or copyright law, fixed term for 2 years. A full description of the role can be found on the Cambridge website.

Related Links

Digital Media and Society Research Group

Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law

See Also

Leveson and the use and abuse of history via JOMEC Blog

Hugh Cudlipp – The Sinking of a Tabloid Dream via JOMEC Blog